The Caretaker

This isn’t about one of my roommates, it’s about my father’s live-in caretaker. My parents divorced some time ago then about seven years ago my father started to show signs of dementia. At first I moved in with him but it soon became obvious that dad needed more care than I was capable of providing so after extensive interviews with numerous agencies we found dad a full-time, live-in caretaker I’ll call Sean. At first Sean was a Godsend. Dad liked him, Sean kept dad active and involved and everything went fine for about a year.

One Sunday I was visiting dad and told Sean to go ahead and take the afternoon off. Dad was napping when I got there. After about an hour dad woke up and comes wandering in the living room and I noticed bruises all over his arm- and dad came out of what was Sean’s room. I asked dad why he was in Sean’s room and he replied “No, that’s my room.” Dad’s old room was locked up tighter than a drum. I asked him what happened to his arm and he said “I don’t know.” We had a pleasant afternoon then Sean came home and first asked him about the bedroom. Sean then told me he moved my dad out of the master bedroom and into his old room. I asked him why, since dad’s old room had an attached bath with a full shower. Sean just said it was easier for him if dad had the smaller room. I asked him about the bruises. He said that was from getting dad in and out of the bathtub in the hall bathroom. I asked him why he’s wasn’t using the shower. Sean said dad didn’t like taking showers. I knew that for dad’s entire life he never used the bathtub- he hated it and kept wanting to rip it out and replace it with another shower.

A couple weeks later I was visiting dad again. Sean was out grocery shopping. Dad kept insisting I give him “his booze.” I asked dad what he meant. Finally dad got up, walked into the kitchen and pulled a bottle of scotch out and poured himself a good four fingers, drank it right down then poured another and took it into the living room. Dad had never drank anything other than the occasional beer his entire life and he never, ever bought alcohol at the store, period. When Sean came home I asked him about the scotch. Sean was real evasive. He said “You’re dad’s fine and at the point where if he wants something I give it to him to make him happy. It won’t hurt him.”

My sister lives out of state and decided to come visit dad for a long holiday weekend some six months later. Sean called me when he heard about the pending visit and insisted my sister either stay with me or at a hotel. There was plenty of room in dad’s house. I asked him why and he said “Your dad doesn’t even remember he has a daughter. It will be too much stress on him.” I asked to speak with dad and asked him if he remembered his daughter. He said of course he did, he talked to her all the time on the phone, which was true. My sister ended up staying at a hotel. Before she left she stopped by my place and told me there was something about Sean she didn’t like. She also said that when she got to dad’s on Saturday evening to take him out to dinner she couldn’t because dad had been drinking all afternoon.

I decided it was time to have a serious talk with Sean. Again, Sean was very evasive and defensive. I told Sean he needed a break from dad and could have the next weekend off and I would take him for the weekend. Sean took off the next weekend and I went to dad’s. Again, Sean’s room was locked up tighter than a drum. Dad and I had a great weekend. He was in a wonderful mood (I hid his “booze” as he called it and he just seemed to forget about it). Just before I left Sunday night I was going through a stack of mail on dad’s desk and found the bill for his property taxes- unpaid and six months overdue. It was a third notice. Sean was suppose to be looking over dad’s bills, paying the small ones from a trust account I had set up and sending the big ones to an accounting firm that dad had used his entire life. I took the bill home with me and called the accountant the next day. The accountant asked me what I was talking about- I had told him that dad’s caretaker would be handling the big bills now and all he had to worry about was paying dad’s income taxes. I asked him what he meant. He said “You didn’t call me six months ago and tell me that?” I said no, I didn’t.

The next day I took off work and went to dad’s to talk to Sean. Again, he was very defensive and even more evasive. It was 10 AM when I got there and dad was already drinking. I asked Sean about the property taxes and the accountant. Silence, followed by “I don’t know what you mean.” I questioned harder and harder and Sean got more and more defensive. I demanded that Sean let me in his room to have a look around. He flat-out refused. I told him he couldn’t and that I would be back the next day to look in the room – I was the landlord, he was the tenant and he had to let me in if I gave him a day’s notice. Sean said “We’ll see about that” and I left, taking dad with me.

The next day dad and I returned to his house. Sean was gone. All his stuff was gone. The bedroom was in shambles. By the end of the week I had found out that Sean had cleaned out my dad’s bank account (luckily just the one his social security was going into- the one used for the smaller household bills). He was getting dad drunk so dad would sign checks over to him. Dad’s Rolex watch was missing, as was his wedding band and a gold necklace dad had always worn. In the master bathroom, I found three empty prescription bottles-all dated that they were filled within the last week. My dad had a small safe he had kept in the master bedroom closet that I had totally forgotten about. It had a few stock certificates, dad’s passport and a few other things it it. It was empty. That was three months ago. There is a warrant out for Sean’s arrest. He is nowhere to be found. We know for sure that at one point he was four states away in Texas and tried to use one of dad’s credit cards at a gas station. Sean had been living in that house with my dad for almost three years. We still are finding things missing.
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2 Responses to The Caretaker

  1. Lauren says:

    That is so horrible. I’m sorry that your family had to go through that.

  2. freewillie124 says:

    I had a roommate/boyfriend steal my credit card- one that I kept for emergencies only and never carried in my wallet. He was also nabbing the statement out of the mailbox each month so I never knew he stole it until I went to buy a car and they ran my credit report. The card was maxed out at almost $15,000 and my roommate was making minimum payments on it. I never had signed the back of the card and apparently the places where he used it never checked ID. I didn’t have to pay a penny and the credit card company pressed charges against him. He declared bankruptcy and never had to pay one red cent back on all those charges.

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